Spider Silk topic of USU’s Science Unwrapped on Nov. 4

LOGAN – Imagine a material that’s stronger than steel yet light as a feather. Imagine bullet-stopping body armor so comfortable it feels like a second skin.Science fiction? In the not-so-distant future, maybe not.Friday, Nov. 4, Utah State University’s Science Unwrapped welcomes USTAR professor Randy Lewis as featured speaker. A molecular biologist in USU’s Synthetic Bio-Manufacturing Center, Lewis presents “Spider Silk: An Ancient Biomaterial for the Future.”Lewis speaks at 7 p.m. in the Emert Auditorium, Room 130, of the Eccles Science Learning Center on campus. Hosted by USU’s College of Science, admission is free and open to all ages. During the past 20 years, Lewis has pioneered methods of manufacturing artificial spider silk. By transferring silk-producing genes from spiders to silkworms, goats, E. Coli bacteria and alfalfa, the scientist and his team have developed “factories” capable of mass producing the super-strong, lightweight fiber. Future applications for the manufactured silk, in addition to body armor, could include artificial tendons, ligaments and bones; artificial skin to treat victims of severe burns and improved parachutes, cables and vehicle airbags.Hands-on learning activities coordinated by USU’s Department of Biology follow the presentation. Free refreshments will be served. For more information, call 435-797-3517, visit www.usu.edu/science/unwrapped or view the ‘Science Unwrapped at USU’ page on Facebook.

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